"And when they had told David, saying, ‘Uriah went not down unto his house,' David said unto Uriah, ‘Camest thou not from thy journey? Why then didst thou not go down unto thine house?"
II Samuel 11: 10, King James Version
"When Your Conscience Speaks Up" - - Temptation #1
"Conscience is condensed character."
How do I define the word "conscience"?
Have I ever been afflicted by a "guilty conscience"?
"The great beacon light God sets in all,
The conscience of each bosom."
"It is astonishing how soon the whole conscience begins to unravel if a single stitch drops. One single sin indulged in makes a hole you could put your head through."
My grandmother, who was famous in our family for her expert ability to knit, tried as hard as she could to teach me to follow in her footsteps, to no avail. I not only wasn't good at knitting, I didn't enjoy doing it. One particular day, after being given a great deal of grandma's instruction, I tried my best to knit a little green square. But somewhere along the line, I "dropped" a stitch. Naively, I thought it didn't matter that there was a stitch missing. When Grandma came over to inspect my work, she immediately identified the flaw and then showed me the consequence of my sloppiness as she pulled on the yarn, ever so gently, completely unraveling my defective attempt at knitting a square patch.
It is interesting how Charles Buxton correlates the "dropping of a stitch" with the problem of hidden sin. Sin, when harbored, can take down even the brightest and the best, as we see in the life of David.
Interestingly, after finding out that his first attempt to lure Uriah back to his home and to the bed of his wife Bathsheba had been futile, the frustrated David took his exasperation out on Uriah by asking this dedicated soldier, "What's wrong with you? You came home, why haven't you visited your wife?" It's interesting how this almost accusing exchange brings David to a point where it's Uriah's fault that things aren't going as planned. And this, sadly, is often what happens when there's someone in our presence, whose stand for the right, flies in the face of our rebelliousness. If someone crosses my path and reflects an illuminating radiance of heavenly light when I am, in fact, headed in the opposite direction, it's easy for my response to be just like David's. We accuse the person whose righteous behavior contradicts our waywardness.
Here when Uriah had shown his loyalty to his God, to his king, to his general, and not least of all, his fellow comrades, David retorts with a less than gracious response by questioning Uriah's choice of loyalty during wartime. "Why didn't you go down to your home," David asked?
The Latin translation of the word "conscientia" or "conscience" means, "to know wrong." The word conscience is further identified as the "faculty of recognizing the difference between right and wrong." I'd like to add, I believe this ability is one our heavenly Father implanted within each of our hearts, for as we go back to our Eden home, before there was sin, we find a harmonious relationship between God and His children. However, when disobedience to God's Will became the mode of operation, something immediately kicked in - I call it conscience - that led Adam and Eve to hide from God. Their defiant behavior resulted in "guilty consciences" which led them to hide away from their own Father. And not long after, when Adam and Eve's two sons, Cain and Abel, brought offerings to God, we find Cain blaming his brother Abel for the tragic results of an inflamed temper. It seems the blame game when a conscience gets pricked began in the Garden of Eden and has continued down through history to this very day when a guilty conscience drives some to desperate means. As John Crowne so correctly observed, "No hell like a bad conscience."
All you have to do is ask David how he liked living with a guilty conscience. Knowing what he had done to an innocent man and yet still scheming to get his way out of trouble, David was miserable. His rendezvous with Bathsheba gave him no joy.
For each one of us, the call to do right may come with a cost, but it is better to do right than unravel an entire life. As William Morley Punshon penned, "Cowardice asks, ‘Is it safe?' Expediency asks, ‘Is it polite?' Vanity asks, ‘Is it popular?' But conscience asks, ‘Is it right?'"
"Yet still there whispers the small voice within,
Heard through Gain's silence,
and O'er Glory's din;
Whatever creed he taught or land he trod,
Man's conscience is the oracle of God."
Lord Byron: The Island
"If you mean to know God intimately, you must begin by taking the time to listen to His voice."
"Your call, my Lord,
is but a gentle whisper in my ear,
confirmed by Your Word,
flowing from Your Spirit,
and by faith in my heart
becoming crystal clear.
Oh! That I would not crush
Your sweet voice -
that tender call -
with my doubts and many worries.
But instead trust completely
and to You only surrender all."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.